5 days Bridges and Islands
The route, which passes across bridges and islands of the Seto Inland Sea, is the only land connection between Japan’s main island of Honshu and the more traditional mountainous island of Shikoku. Both cyclists and pedestrians are safely separated from motorised traffic. Along the way, travelers can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Seto Inland Sea and the islands’ small towns.
This extension is an add-on on a sample tour or any other tailor-made tour in Japan. It is not possible to book this package separately.
The Shimanami Kaido bicycle trail in the Seto Inland Sea: 80 kilometers, 6 islands and 7 bridges.
If you are coming from Hiroshima or Kyoto, you can first pay a visit to Kurashiki before starting the journey.
Day 1: Kurashiki, “town of storehouses”
Kurashiki can be roughly translated as “town of storehouses”, which refers to the storehouses where rice was kept. Kurashiki has an old canal that dates back to the Edo Period when the city served as an important rice distribution center. Along the canal, there are many original storehouses with white painted walls and black tiled roofs. Because of the city’s importance in the rice trade, Kurashiki was put under direct control of the shogunate. The former storehouses have been converted into cafes, boutiques, souvenir shops and a number of museums. You can visit the Ohara Museum of Art. It houses an impressive collection of Western masterpieces by Picasso, Renoir, Degas, Gauguin en Matisse. The Ohashi house from 1796 is definitely worth a visit. This is the residence built for one of Kurashiki’s wealthiest merchants.
Day 2: Stunning views of the bay of Onomichi
It takes one hour by train to reach Onomichi, a quaint town along the coast of the Seto Inland Sea and the starting point of your bicycle trip. Onomichi extends from the mainland across some of the neighbouring islands, which are connected by ferry boats and the bridges of the Shimanami Kaido. In the downtown area, there is a designated walking route, called the Temple Walk, that connects the 25 temples of Onomichi. This 2,5 kilometer Temple Walk leads the visitors up and down the slopes of the city and through its narrow lanes. Definitely a fun way to explore Onomichi.
Day 3 Cycling across the sea
Today you’ll start the Shimanami Kaido. This route, which passes across bridges and islands of the Seto Inland Sea, is the only land connection between Japan’s main island of Honshu. On the way you will pass over six small islands in the Seto Inland Sea: Mukaishima, Innoshima, Ikuchijima, Omishima, Hakatajima and Oshima. On Ikuchijima you can visit the Hirayama museum, dedicated to Hirayama Ikuo (1930 – 2009), a major Japanese painter working in the traditional style. The main themes of his paintings were Buddhism and Peace. Hirayama was still a student when he witnessed the atomic attack in Hiroshima in 1945 and suffered from the effects of radiation.
The spectacular Tatara Bridge is a suspension bridge with a center span of 890 meter long, between Omishima Island and Ikuchi Island. The bridge opened in 1999 and was at the time the longest in the world. It has additional lanes for bicycles and pedestrians. After a bicycle ride of 40 kilometers, you will stay the night in a minshuku or ryokan on Omishima Island.
Day 4 Culinary delights in Imabari
After a delicious traditional breakfast at your minshuku, you begin the second portion of the route that takes you to Imabari IC on Shukoku Island, where you can return your bicycle. Today you will cycle around 30 kilometers. From Imabari IC to Imabari City it takes another half an hour by bus. Upon arrival you can check-in at your hotel.
The impressive Imabari Castle is one of the landmarks of the city of Imabari which was once ruled by the Imabari clan. The museum in the castle has a permanent exhibition on the types of dishes served in castles and palaces all over the world. The city is also famous for its many yakitori restaurants.
Day 5 Dogo onsen, Japan’s oldest onsen
By train it takes one hour to reach Matsuyama. At the heart of the city there is a beautiful and original castle. The castle’s hilltop viewpoint offers a nice view of the city and a glimpse of the Seto Inland sea. It’s a very bustling city also famous for its Dogo, one of Japan’s oldest hot spring resorts. The interior of the Honkan is a maze of stairways, passages and rooms. There is even an Imperial bathing room, just in case the emperor would come and pay a visit. Another interesting must-visit is Uchiko, a pleasant town about 40 km southwest of Matsuyama. Its historical district looks just as it did over 100 years ago, when wealth and prosperity came to Uchiko. The old residence homes of the former local merchants are now open to the public.
The price for a 5 day bicycle trip is € 425,- per person based on double occupancy
The price can vary depending on the travel day (weekend) or travel season.
Included in the price:
Train tickets from Kurashiki to Onomichi
Train tickets from Imabari to Matsuyama
4 nights stay, including breakfast and 1x dinner in Omishima
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